When I was in my early 20s, the only question I loathed more than “tell me about yourself,” was “what’s your W2 history?” I had a spotty record at best. And…in my heart of hearts, I knew it. You can’t spin, position, or side-step around it. The W2 tells all. Its storyboard is honest about performance, transparent about the deals you lost, and it speaks clearly about your ability to prospect, foster coaches, overcome objections, and close. Back in the late 90s, this was the most important litmus test of a software seller – but somewhere in the midst of tech’s journey to the center of the economic universe, we lost our way. Gone are the days where this question was the foundation of a selection…the thought of asking a millennial to fax 3 years of history…well…who has fax machines anymore?
A friend and peer of mine also manages software sales teams. We were discussing our earnings history, the movement away from this being a major component of talent selection, and we arrived a provocative conclusion: not only should we bring W2 history back as a scoreboard on talent selection, we believe it should be the ONLY scoreboard! Hold for processing…
Earnings success in any profession is usually tied to a series of micro-decisions as well as a few macro-decisions. Those micro-decisions can include, but not limited to: Which accounts to focus on, how much time you work on prospecting, what partners you chose to work with, etc. Also included in earnings can be your macro decisions, which include things like job changes, which accounts to follow in the org change, and mentors/leaders you choose to influence your behavior. Each decision leads to whether you will make money or not.
The older I get and the more experience I accumulate, I more and more arrive at the conclusion that territory and timing play a smaller role in ultimate success. Deep in the talent quotient exists your intellectual horsepower that enables you to collect information, process the swim lanes, and choose a path that leads to a successful outcome. THIS is what differentiates good sellers from great ones. How’s your W2 history?